Recently I created a new painting that I was hesitant to put out for the world to see. When you’re an artist, whether it be a visual artist, musician, or writer, it is inevitable that you will be judged by the work you create. Of course those who love you will offer you praise and support and this is unquestionably appreciated in the deepest and sincerest way; it’s what keeps us going more often than not. However the truest compliments are those that come from strangers; those who barely know you who become deeply connected to you and your work in some emotional way.
This past Tuesday I went to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. This was by far one of the best concerts I’ve been to in my life. As I listened, watched, moved, and felt, I was in awe of the musicians and their raw talent, undeniable passion, and their quirky awesomeness. Karen O has a smile that lights up a room and a kind of electric energy makes you feel elatedly happy and free. And while I smelled Ms. Mary Jane all around me, their music is so intoxicating it’s all the high you need. This band puts the punk in punk rock!
So how does one story fit with the other? One of the reasons I love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs so much is because they are original, unlike anything I’ve ever heard or seen, and I’m sure that they have been criticized and judged for that very same reason.
However, as I looked around the room that evening and witnessed how many people they so profoundly touched with their sounds, I imagined how many others have felt their awesomeness all around the world.
And so I decided to put my artwork out there. Even if I touch the life of a single person with that piece, it will outweigh the indifference and criticism I may receive from others. After all, those who are often deemed bizarre and out of the ordinary are also often extraordinary!
Stories about how art inspires and changes us.